Chapter 1. Overview

Table of Contents

What is CVS?
What is CVS not?
A sample session
Getting the source
Committing your changes
Cleaning up
Viewing differences

This chapter is for people who have never used cvsnt, and perhaps have never used version control software before.

If you are already familiar with cvsnt and are just trying to learn a particular feature or remember a certain command, you can probably skip everything here.

What is CVS?

cvsnt is a version control system. Using it, you can record the history of your source files.

For example, bugs sometimes creep in when software is modified, and you might not detect the bug until a long time after you make the modification. With cvsnt, you can easily retrieve old versions to see exactly which change caused the bug. This can sometimes be a big help.

You could of course save every version of every file you have ever created. This would however waste an enormous amount of disk space. cvsnt stores all the versions of a file in a single file in a clever way that only stores the differences between versions.

cvsnt also helps you if you are part of a group of people working on the same project. It is all too easy to overwrite each others' changes unless you are extremely careful. Some editors, like gnu Emacs, try to make sure that the same file is never modified by two people at the same time. Unfortunately, if someone is using another editor, that safeguard will not work. cvsnt solves this problem by insulating the different developers from each other. Every developer works in his own directory, and cvsnt merges the work when each developer is done.

cvsnt started out as a bunch of shell scripts written by Dick Grune, posted to the newsgroup comp.sources.unix in the volume 6 release of December, 1986. While no actual code from these shell scripts is present in the current version of cvsnt much of the cvsnt conflict resolution algorithms come from them.

In April, 1989, Brian Berliner designed and coded cvs. Jeff Polk later helped Brian with the design of the cvs module and vendor branch support.

In December, 1999 Tony Hoyle converted the unix based CVS to run under Windows NT. This later became cvsnt, which developed into a project of its own.

CVSNT is now a major project with solid commercial backing, and an active support community.

You can get cvsnt in a variety of ways, including free download from the internet. For more information on downloading cvsnt and other cvsnt topics, see:

There is a mailing list, known as cvsnt, devoted to cvsnt. To subscribe or unsubscribe see: